Cats & writers essay at LitHub

January 10, 2018 § Leave a comment

“The Half-Wild Muse: On Writers and their Cats” is up at Literary Hub. It was a fun essay to write and I hope fun to read as well. cat-on-computer

More from me on writing and the writing life here.

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Illustrated Talk on the Literary and Artistic History of Nantucket Island

July 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

Untitled.001Very much looking forward to this talk, which I’ll be giving at 7:30PM on July 26, at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, in collaboration with talented painter Julia Jensen! If you’re in southern Vermont, come out to hear a novelist and an artist discuss the rich historic, literary, and artistic legacy of this very special island. Here’s a link to the event. Drinks and snacks too!

The talk is in anticipation for the Museum’s sponsored trip to the island coming up October 26-29, 2017, which Julia and I will be co-leading.

Two new craft articles out . . . and a translation to Italian

May 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

untitled“Classic Omniscience Revisited: Lessons for the Modern Novelist in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.” Empty Mirror

“Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Fiction Writer in the Modern Age? A Quiz.” Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers

SUR-logo-blog-300“A caccia del fantasma de Hemingway All’Avana,” Edizioni Sur (translated by Martina Ricciardi). (Originally “Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost in Havana,” The Millions.)

New interview up at Fiction Writers Review

May 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

logoReally enjoyed this wide-ranging conversation with the perceptive Art Hutchinson at Fiction Writers Review. We discussed, among other things, extreme sports, the supernatural, foreign and historical settings, pushing the boundaries of conscious perception, and why the inner landscape is something fiction can do better than any other art. Read the whole interview here!

Two new reviews: A FIELD GUIDE TO MURDER & FLY FISHING

April 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

Honored to notice the release of two new reviews of A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing. I found these particularly gratifying because they zero in on two specific stories in the collection:

Seven Days takes a unique approach in a piece called “Page 32: Short Takes on Five Books by Vermont Authors,” excerpting a quote from page 32 of each book and using that as a jumping-off point for a brief review. For A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing, the quote lands in the middle of one of my favorites, “Tower Eight,” a story in which, according to reviewer Sadie Williams:

“Weed delves into adolescent friendship and the idea of being an outsider with great care for his characters. The tale begins and ends with one character musing on the reality of the other. The surreal ploy is subtle enough to bring the story into the realm of good literature, making the reader question perceptions of reality . . . Weed’s prose is weightless, and weighty, all at once.”

Matthew Sirois at Necessary Fiction, weighing in with what is without doubt the most academic and “literary” perspective on the collection so far, focuses on a story that hasn’t otherwise received much mention:

NFlogo_400x400“Perhaps the greatest story in Field Guide is “The Money Pill,” whose white, American narrator operates a tourism business in Cuba, not long before its official opening to US visitors . . . “The Money Pill” feels like essential literature—for its self-awareness, its bold impeachment of globalism, and its sultry, sticky atmosphere of arousal and shame.”

Sirois doesn’t pull punches in his criticism either, which I find for the most part fair— though he does take a few ideologically reflexive shots at poor dead Hemingway, whose contributions to world literature are manifold and who was, despite his many flaws, a vigorously anti-establishment and anti-authoritarian figure who was not afraid speak truth to power even at great risk to his career. Nevertheless, Sirois ends the review on a generously effusive note:

“But if we malign Hemingway and his progeny—a bloodline to which A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing could be said to belong—it’s because the archetypes of power from his day have remained in power all along. Tim Weed is a writer who knows how to interrogate those archetypes, smash them open, see what they bleed—and, if necessary, take them fishing.”

My sincere humility and gratitude goes out to the authors of both these reviews.

Order the collection from IndieBoundAmazon, or Barnes & Noble — or request it at your favorite local bookstore. (ISBN# 978-0997452877)

Hemingway’s Ghost in Havana at The Millions

March 21, 2017 § Leave a comment

hemingwayNew essay up up at The Millions, in which I trace Hemingway’s 30 year love affair with Havana and try to get to the bottom of what his lingering influence says about both the writer and the city. Read the whole thing here. A brief excerpt:

In Havana, Ernest Hemingway’s restless ghost lingers more palpably than in any of the other places in the world that can legitimately claim him: Paris, Madrid, Sun Valley, Key West. Havana was his principal home for more than three decades, and its physical aspect has changed very little since he left it, for the last time, in the spring of 1960.

I’ve been traveling to the city with some regularity since 1999, when I directed one of the first officially sanctioned programs for U.S. students in Cuba since the triumph of Fidel Castro’s 1959 Revolution. As an aspiring novelist, I’ve long been interested in Hemingway’s work, but I had no idea how prominently Havana figured in the author’s life — nor how prominently the author figured in the city’s defining iconography — until I began spending time there.

Back to Havana at a momentous time

November 26, 2016 § Leave a comment

fidelThis morning we have the news that Fidel Castro has passed out of this world. Whatever you think of his policies there can be no question that he was one of the most colorful and important world-historical figures of the 20th century. I’m heading to Havana in a few days, traveling with a small group put together by the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. One of the things I’ll be doing is giving an illustrated lecture about the history of the Cuban Revolution. I’m sure we’ll be talking quite a lot about Fidel, both with among my fellow travelers and with Cubans. It will be a very interesting time to be there.

img_9704Historical moment aside, I’m extremely happy to be heading back to the island of Cuba. It’s been several months, and it will be great to check in with old friends, breathe the tropical air, reconnect with the familiar sights and smells and sounds. And yes, it will be be a welcome relief to make a quick escape from social media and the constant reminders of our new electoral reality. In this context, nine packed and fascinating days away sound pretty good. We’ll be in Havana, Cienfuegos, and Trinidad, with highlights including Hemingway’s house at Finca Vigía, world-class traditional music everywhere but especially on the steps in the main square of Trinidad, a few special paladares, and visits to certain unspoiled regions on and near the southern coast.

img_7832Particularly looking forward to visiting the old sugar central of Soledad (near Cienfuegos), the site of some fascinating research I’ve been doing on Edwin Atkins, a Bostonian sugar planter who was the largest foreign property owner during the war of 1895-98 and an influential adviser to both the Cleveland and the McKinley administrations. Atkins’ old mansion still stands, and I’ve played a small role in the process of a local initiative to restore and conserve the house and to create a new museum.

If you’re looking for ways to get to Cuba yourself during what may prove to be the short-lived window of the recent relaxation of U.S.-Cuba relations, don’t hesitate to send me a note. Happy to share my experience and reach out to essential contacts, or at least point you in the right direction. ¡Viva Cuba!

 

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